“Cool It” Acrylic, Indian ink & metal on board 200mm x 200mm
Riding on the success of Bridport Open Studios I am launching myself headlong into preparations for my next show. It’s going to be in the Round Tower at Black Swan Arts in Frome starting 6 November 2015 under the working title, “Black squares, black lines & black magic”. It is a really brilliant space and I am determined to create a show that takes the building into consideration rather than just arranging my pictures nicely round the walls (round being the operative word!) I am also determined that it will not be just a static display: I want the show to evolve over the three weeks it is open. I haven’t the luxury of a proper residency, but I will be there each day the show is open and I hope to develop site specific work during that time. Of course the more people who come through and engage with me the less work will I be able to do, so I have planned two participatory pieces that will help ensure something new gets finished during the show – “with a little help from my friends”!
The first of these pieces will involve the help of other artists. After my meeting at the Black Swan tomorrow I will post an open call to artists to submit their take on the theme “Black squares, black lines & black magic”. I will be looking for submissions in any materials or media but they must be exactly 4″ by 4″. If you send something in it may be used in any way I choose, so you mustn’t expect to necessarily recognise your piece in the finished work, though I will publicly credit each artist. More details to follow very soon but in the meantime get your thinking caps on and get those creative juices flowing!
The other participatory piece will be an homage to Bob Law. As a painter of black paintings Bob Law has to feature somewhere in the process of making this show. I will be asking the help of all visitors in the creation of this piece and though I have got it pretty much planned out I will wait till the exhibition opens to introduce it.
Oh, and don’t think that just because “black” appears 3 times in the working title that everything is going to be dark and sombre. Those of you who follow my work will know that my black squares are often neither black nor square! But there again, people who know me know I can become a little “overfocussed” – dare I say “obsessional”? – which could mean it all does end up pretty monochrome! You’ll have to wait and see.
“Colourful Black Square 1” Acrylic on board 200mm x 200mm
“An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” Acrylic on canvas 400mm x 400mm
I am delighted to report that I sold 15 pieces during Bridport Open Studios and generated a lot of good feedback and met some wonderful people. My new works on canvas were particularly well received and i sold “An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” pictured above. I also sold “The Bit They Know About You” (pictured below) which is one of my favourite pieces, so I am particularly pleased that someone has seen its merits. I hope it gives the buyers much pleasure for many years.
“The Bit They Know About You” Acrylic and Indian ink on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I suppose I am now going to have to change my Twitter header as the artwork I was using, “Mystery Evolves” (below) has also gone to a new home. I am fortunate too that quite a few smaller studies and collages sold, as well as the larger pieces mentioned in previous posts.
“Mystery Evolves” Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
The first two days of Bridport Open Studios saw a steady stream of interested visitors and some good sales – and that was after me not really being set up properly. It’s a little more organised now and who knows, I might even be able to say I was ready! I am pleased to be showing a wide range of my work including new work on canvas, erasure drawings, field drawings, new watercolour pieces and a range of small “affordable” studies. I have aslo set aside some space for a selection of #Collage365 work
A selection of #Collage365 is on show at the studio during Bridport Open Studios
Outfall 2 Ink & watercolour on paper 559mm × 762mm
I have been pleased with the quality of visitors to my Open Studios this weekend. Most people have displayed a keen interest in my work and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and talking about art. I’m also pleased that I have sold something each day – including today when I was technically not open! A visitor over the weekend called this morning to say they had decided to by “Outfall 2”, the piece pictured above. It’s quite a special piece for me and I am delighhted it has found an appreciative home.
I have also sold some of the small studies I framed up and another larger piece, “You Were Born And So You’re Free”
You Were Born And So You’re Free Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
“Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart” Multiply-erased graphite drawing on Canaletto paper 500mm x 700mm
It’s that time again and now I have a studio at St Michael’s in Bridport town centre it would be foolish of me not to open up and join in Bridport Open Studios. Since completing my #Letter365 project I have been busy catching up on a couple of years’ neglect in the garden but I have also been getting on with new work.
Thermopylae (not as black as you think) Collage, acrylic & ink on board 306mm x 306mm
I completed the erasure drawing I was talking about earlier (shown above) and have been working on black squares (as usual not always black, not always square!) and various field pieces. Some of the field pieces are on canvas! That’s the first time I have used canvas or completed a piece on canvas for 43 years! (It has been interesting!) I aim to add images of some of this work in the next few days.
I have also been moved to return to using wet-in-wet watercolour again and have been creating large field pieces, starting a new series of work under the working title of “The Stone Archive – Fields of Oblivion”. I will post some of these later too, including some small pieces I have framed up especially for Bridport Open Studios. These small nicely-framed pieces are designed as affordable introductions to my work and would make great gifts for loved ones or yourself! They are the sort of things people point to in my sketchbooks and say, “Ooh, that’s nice!” Since I have been working on larger sheets than my sketchbooks when I am trying out some ideas (especially the watercolour and acrylic stuff as I can do more while the paint dries) I thought I would isolate some of the ones that work best and frame them for sale.
As usual there is a “6×9” show to accompany Bridport Open Studios. This year it occupies the foyer and cafe at Bridport Arts Centre and I have entered some specially made pieces that explore my current themes and, some, move into new territory. The show opens on Wednesday 19 August and runs till 18 September after which it transfers to Black Swan Arts at Frome.
Tired but inspired after doing 3 shows in London: Agnes Martin and Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern and Joseph Cornell at the RA.
After just three rooms of Agnes Martin I was ready to call it a day: either call it a day for my art career – for what point when she has done so much of what I’m exploring – or call it a day and go back home to the studio and get to work with renewed fire and vigour! As it happened I forced myself to be disciplined and make the best of the day in London.
I had been really looking forward to seeing Martin’s work after being recommended by a friend. I wasn’t disappointed, though the quality was variable ranging from averagely interesting to sublimely beautiful and completely enveloping. Some of the early work and some of her last seemed to lack a positive spark, seemed to be floundering, looking for a connection. The rest was hard-wired to her muse. Most of it I would love to take home with me and look after lovingly!
I may write in more detail about particular pieces, but over all I felt she was investigating similar areas to my current and recent work, that there is more than a superficial similarity in the way the finished pieces look.
I only scooted round the Delaunay because I was with my daughter and thought she may be interested in the costume and textiles. It was nice to reconnect to a few favourite pieces from my last visit, but it didn’t add to the positive inspirational effect of the day so far.
The Joseph Cornell was a disappointment and a delight: irritating and inspirational. I first came across his work in the early 1970s but never got to see the show in London around that time. At that time I was making sets and boxes – in a very different style – and was very drawn to and, possibly, influenced by his work. The disappointment was that photographs have shown them brighter and somehow more polished. In the flesh they seem a little dull. The delight was in the detail. If I had seen them in the seventies I would have been put off by the apparent slapdash construction, but now I can accept and cherish the poor mitres and uneven paintwork: it’s the ideas that captivate and intrigue and they are mostly put together perfectly. There was less humour than I expected: quite a few had fairly dark subject matter. I liked that many were physically dark, making you work to see what was there. I liked that the show connected me back to the best of the ideas and materials I was exploring back in college days that I have started to tinker with again.
Another Moment Waiting To Happen Ink on Paper 303mm x 216mm
I am delighted to announce that “Another Moment Waiting To Happen” has been selected for the Evolver Prize Exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton from 4th July to 29 August 2015. It is only a small regional prize but I believe it attracts some of the best artists in the area so I am delighted to be ranked among such high quality. (Sorry for the appalling photo!)
I Forgot Who Said That Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I finally managed to finish this drawing a few days ago. It is the first of many that I hoped to do while working within my #Letter365 installation at Bridport Arts Centre. I am only managing to get there for a couple of hours a day and mostly I get involved with talking with visitors for some part of the time. I have started another piece but will finish that at the studio because the table I am working on is not wide enough to accommodate imperial size paper longways and there is a lip round the table edge that means the paper doesn’t lie flat. But I have another two weeks so may gat more done and I have gathered lots of ideas.
This piece, I Forgot Who Said That, is one of my field drawings but using a more colourful palette than my usual black and white. Although firmly based in the repetitive, compartmentalised grid structure of pieces such as Aleph’s Flux or The Dream’s Malfunction – and I have done some small-scale test pieces in this style – the more rounded marks are influenced by the stains of fresh-sawn logs on the Allsop Gallery floorboards left from the show What Remains – an installation by And Now back in September-October 2014
Composite image of some stains on the Allsop Gallery floor caused by fresh cut logs in a previous installation
I am aiming to do some more work related to these stains and the lines between the boards, but I’ll have to get a move on. Below is a detail of I Forgot Who Said That to compare and see how it may have been influenced more than I may have thought:
The Prophesy Restated Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559m × 762m
I am pleased to announce that my ink and watercolour drawing The Prophesy Restated has been selected for the RWA Drawn 2015 exhibition. It is the largest of a series I was doing at the end of last year. I am still interested in investigating the theme further now that I am a little freer to work on more complex and larger field drawings. This small success means that I will be exhibiting in Bristol for the first time and will have two shows running at the same time with my solo installation #Letter365 running at Bridport Arts Centre until 11 April.
The Dream’s Malfunction Drawing – Ink on Somerset paper 381mm x 589mm
I’m finalising details of the exhibition I will be having in The White Rooms at 42 Royal Road, Ramsgate 23-25 August 2014 as part of Ramsgate Arts Summer Squall Festival, Preview Evening on Friday 22 August. I will be showing some of my #Collage365 pieces as well as larger works on paper from my Tidelines series and Field drawings.
I’ll also be giving a talk about my work and the interplay between chaos and control, emotion and intellect that drives it. I’ll be telling the story of #Letter365 and introducing the delights of unseen art: #Letter365.
We had hoped that there would be the opportunity for people to create a piece of mailart that would feature in my #Letter365 installation next March in Bridport but due to other commitments our helpers are taking on during the Summer Squall we have had to cancel this.